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An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman is a popular form of joke in the United Kingdom. The nationalities involved may vary, though they are most usually restricted to those within the British Isles and the number of people involved is usually three or four. This style of joke is also told with the countries switched (e.g., an Australian, an American, and an Irishman).

The jokes are popular in Ireland, where the characters are called Paddy Englishman, Paddy Scotsman and Paddy Irishman. The punchline is usually spoken by the Irishman.

Such jokes are also told in other countries, for example in The Netherlands where the joke is usually presented as “A Dutchman, a German and a Belgian…” or in Turkey as “An Englishman, a Frenchman, a German and a Turk”. In Spain, jokes about “An Englishman, a Frenchman and a Spaniard” are quite popular; the two foreigners are always portraited as cocky, stupid and naïve while the fictitious spaniard is smart, practical and, ultimately, victorious.

The jokes are sometimes retold as being about a redhead, a brunette and a blonde, or a priest, a minister and a rabbi.

The joke begins “An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman…” (or whichever nationality is relevant to that particular variation) and then places the three characters in a scenario. How each person in the joke reacts to the scenario is then explained, the final reaction being the punch line, playing up to the stereotype of that nationality. Generally speaking in Ireland the Englishman is the butt of the joke, although in Scotland and England it is mostly varied.

In the Netherlands, the Belgian is portrayed as being stupid or dumb. If the joke is about being rude or anti social, the Belgian is replaced by a German.

In Latin America, a similar kind of joke often involves a Colombian, due to their costeño dialect, which is perceived by many other Spanish-speakers to be comical. At the end of the joke, the Colombian makes a reference to the paisan or costeño references. In Brazil, this kind of joke will often involve Argentinians, regarded as arrogant by Brazilians.


These jokes are sometimes made examples of meta- or sheerly absurd humour, in these examples:

“A sword flew out of the sky and it landed on my father…” the boy sobs. The Englishman walks home. The Scotsman throws his axe out the window and walks home. On his way home, he finds a little girl crying “Dear lass, what’s the matter?” he asks. “An axe fell out of the sky and it landed on my brother…” The Scotsman walks home. The Irishman throws his bomb out the window and leaves. On his way home, he finds a little boy laughing hysterically. “What’s so funny, lad?” he asks. “I farted and my house blew up.”



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